PORT ST. LUCIE, FLA. -- Though conceding that he probably has no shot at making the team out of spring training, Orioles reliever Paul Shuey will keep pitching in 2007 for as long as his body allows.
Shuey, who sprained the plantaris tendon in his right ankle while attempting to cover home plate during a March 9 game in Fort Lauderdale, continues to throw in the outdoor cages while the rest of the team progresses through the exhibition schedule. He has been applying more pressure to his leg since Sunday without the same level of discomfort.
"It's coming real quick now," he said. "It's like I went basically a week and felt like I made no progress."
That changed over the weekend. Shuey said the ankle began to feel better Sunday and continued to improve the following day, when the Orioles had the only open date on their schedule. The veteran right-hander spent part of the day running in the pool.
"I can still tell it's there, but it's something I can stretch now and work," he said. "Now it's time to find out what the new timeline is."
Shuey, 36, hasn't pitched in a meaningful game since making one appearance for Double-A Akron in 2005. He retired because of a hip injury that required surgery and is attempting a comeback with the Orioles. Progress comes in many forms -- including when Shuey stopped wearing a walking boot Sunday. He arrived at the ballpark with it on his foot, but he left without it.
Shuey said he'll report to Triple-A Norfolk if the Orioles want to keep him in the organization, a plan that Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo endorsed.
"Whenever he is ready to throw, hopefully he'll go to Triple-A for us and get ready there," Perlozzo said. "Hopefully down the road, he's throwing well enough to help us."
Benson surgery a success
Orioles pitcher Kris Benson's surgery yesterday to repair a partially torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder went well, Orioles vice president Jim Duquette said.
"It went pretty much as expected," Duquette said.
Dr. David Altchek, the New York Mets' team medical director, performed the surgery in New York. Duquette said that Benson will do his rehabilitation program in Atlanta, while remaining in contact with team doctors. He will not pitch this season.
"I think we're still looking at nine months," Duquette said.
Staff still taking shape
Though he named Erik Bedard the Opening Day starter on Sunday, Perlozzo still hasn't committed to how the rest of the rotation will line up, but he did say that it should be "pretty obvious."
That likely means that he'll keep the order he has used this spring, meaning Daniel Cabrera will be No. 2, followed by Jaret Wright, Adam Loewen and Steve Trachsel.
"We're just kind of waiting to make sure that we don't get any setbacks here," Perlozzo said. "I don't mind someone coming out and dazzling us and making us think about it a little more. ...
"Hopefully, Jaret gets through all his starts, Trachsel gets a little bit better with his stuff and we can settle in on it. I don't have a problem with Hayden Penn going out there and wowing us."
Perlozzo said that Penn will get two more spring starts.
Around the horn
Because they were playing in the Mets' ballpark and by National League rules, the Orioles lost the designated hitter, meaning Jay Gibbons and Kevin Millar sat last night. ... Though the Orioles are strongly considering keeping 13 pitchers, Perlozzo wouldn't say reliever Todd Williams has a spot locked up. "I think there are some spots that still need to be won," Perlozzo said. ... Last night was the start of four straight road games for the Orioles, a schedule that doesn't sit well with club officials. Perlozzo said that he spent "two to three hours" during Monday's day off trying to devise a way to get everyone equal at-bats without making anyone go on all the trips.